15 greatest medical milestones
27 March 2007
What have been the 15 greatest medical breakthroughs of the past 160 years? The British Medical Journal (BMJ) asked, the medical world answered, now you can hear all about them at a public lecture series being presented by the BMJ and the University of Sydney.
To mark its relaunch, BMJ readers voted on the greatest discoveries since the journal first published in 1840. From this 15 top discoveries were selected.
The School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, in conjunction with the BMJ, has taken these famous 15 and created a lecture series that begins on Tuesday 10 April.
The BMJ asked: "If we could have only one of them, which would it be? Would it be the identification of penicillin; the mass production of aspirin; the discovery of a link between smoking and lung cancer; or the world's first heart transplant?"
And the results? Sanitation beat 15 other medical advances, including the discovery of antibiotics, the creation of the Pill and the development of vaccines.
First lecture (Tuesday 10 April) explores the role of computers and how they have changed medicine. The lecture will be delivered by Dr Tony Delmothe, Web Editor of the BMJ and Professor Michael Kidd, Head of the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Sydney, whose research includes the use of information technology in medical practice and education.
Other speakers in the series will include Professor Tony Cunningham, Director of The Westmead Millennium Institute, who will explore tissue culture and how the artificial creation of cells has allowed stem cell research and gene therapy to exist.
Later in the series Professor Bruno Giuffre will uncover the story behind the film, in his talk on how a chance discovery led to modern day internal imaging and allowed surgeons to reach into the body without a scalpel.
Not only has the concept been a chance to reflect on the history of medical breakthroughs, it is also an opportunity to consider how these milestones will develop medicine in the future. Will genetics deliver on its promise of real clinical benefit? Can computers help us achieve optimal health for all? And will the end game for smoking be just 20 years away, as one of our champions confidently asserts?
Registration is essential and details can be found on the School of Public Health website.
The series is presented in association with the British Medical Journal and co-hosted by The Medical Foundation.
Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy
Phone: +61 2 9351 4312 or 0421 617 861